I don’t need 60 MB RAW files to bring out all the dynamic range of the barbecue sauce on my children’s faces, and I would think that you guys might fit in that same boat. If you’ve ever wondered when should you shoot RAW? When should you shoot JPEG? What are the differences in quality? When do you shoot both? All of those questions. I’m going to answer that in this video. So stick around. My name is Pye I and I’m one of the founders of Lynn and Joseph Photography and SLR Lounge.com. We’re teaming up with Adorama to bring you a new series of photography tutorials called Master Your Craft, right here on Adorama TV. So let’s dive in. What’s up, my friends? Welcome to another video here on Adorama TV. Today we’re talking all about RAW JPEG. Now, maybe you’re a little bit more familiar with this subject than some. Maybe this is completely new to you. Either way, I would say stick around, because we’re gonna work through several things. And I want you guys to see the differences in quality and flexibility in post-production when it comes to working with raw versus JPEG files. From there, we’re going to go through a four step kind of decision tree to help you understa nd when should you shoot RAW? When do you shoot JPEG? When should you consider shooting both, et cetera? We’re are going to cover all of that. And let’s go ahead and dive in now going into Lightroom. You’re going to notice that I have three files here. I’d love for you guys to pause the video, go to the description, and you can actually download the exercise files if you’d like to work along. Let me explain what we have here for all three of these images. We have a shot of Shivani, my good buddy here in San Francisco at Sutro Baths. Now, the first image is a RAW file. Okay. The next image is a JPEG file, that’s brought two stops brighter. The third image is the JPEG file of the exact same exposure as the RAW file. OK, so we have two JPEGS and
the RAW file, which was shot from a Canon 5D Mk IV. So let’s go ahead and start with topic #1. And that is to understand differences in quality between working with JPEG and RAW files. First, you’re always going to hear people say a RAW file is higher quality, higher quality. But what exactly does that mean? Well, in camera, the images are really actually going to be the same. So just shooting RAW doesn’t actually make your image look any better. In fact, it’s actually going to make your image worse, because it really is going to expect that you’re gonna do the post-processing afterwards. If it’s giving you a RAW file versus when you shoot JPEG, there’s some processing that’s going to be done in camera. So just in general, understand that we’re not talking about the image necessarily looking any better. It’s going to actually look worse temporarily. But what it gives you is more information. And that’s where that quality argument comes into play because we get tons more information to work with if we intend to edit the image in post. But I want you to see exactly what that translates to. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to select all three of these images and I’m going to jump in the developed module. I’m going to turn on Auto Sync. This is going to be great, because along the way I’m hoping to learn a bit more about Lightroom too. So it’s kind of a multi-purpose tutorial. I’m a turn on Auto Sync. So that way, everything that we do will apply to all three images simultaneously. And the first thing on a click is reset. This way, you know, I’m not fooling ya! OK? I’m going to click reset. And we’re gonna start talking about first is the original exposure or the histogram here. This shot was intended to be shot with this exposure that maximizes dynamic range and on a Canon 5D mark IV, we don’t necessarily have that much dynamic range to work with. On newer models as Sony on Nikon. You can have quite a bit more. But even here, we have quite a bit to work with. What you’re gonna see in just a moment. So what that means is, the shadows are pushed along the left edge, the histogram on the right side. The highlights are pushed along the right edge. If I press J to bring up my highlight and clipping alert, you’re gonna notice that there’s very little shadows clipped. There’s very little highlights that have been blown. We’ve retained most of the information in our RAW file. OK. So that tells us that. So with all three of these images selected, the first thing I’m going to do is we are to click reset. The next thing I would do is press R and then go ahead and change this over to a square crop, a 1 x 1 crop. I’ll move this so that our subject and the sunlight are on kind of opposing third lines. I’m gonna Press R again just to set that. The reason why is, because in a moment I’m going to press N to bring up my survey view, and with it cropped to square we’ll actually be able to see side-by-side comparisons versus if there were wider, we wouldn’t be ale to see them side by side. OK, so let’s go back to the develop module and this is my own O.C.D. It really has nothing to do with the tutorial, but I’m going to go ahead and turn on the profile correction. And I’m also going to level the horizon line. So if you go down to transform and you click level, it’ll automatically correct the horizon line. Yeah, that that really has nothing to do with RAW vs JPEG. That’s just this a mental note that just… fix it, fix it, fix it. You know, it goes like that in my my head. I got a new mic filter. By the way, this new foam thing, I can actually see my screen. I’m hoping it sounds good. You gotta be excited by the small things, guys, and I’m stoked about this. So let’s go ahead now. And what I want to do is dial in the exact same settings across all three images. So with AutoSave turned on again, I’m going to go down to visual flows, modern pack, and I’m going to apply the HDR natural preset. Really, It’s not important. You know, what preset you apply in this. All I’m trying to do is apply a preset that’s going to try to widen the dynamic range. So when we apply this, what it does is it tries to retain all of the image information for an HDR type scene, which is what this scene is. It’s a high dynamic range scene and it adds in the colour and everything like that because upon this initial click, we’re going to learn a lot. So the first thing that I want to do is I want to compare. Now, this click to this j_ peg file right here, because the first thing that you’re gonna notice when it comes to dynamic range. If I pull both these up in my survey view and we’re gonna press L to turn the lights out, you’re going to notice that one of these images is clearly kind of better than the other one. I can actually tell right from this view which file was the RAW file. It’s the one on the left. OK. And the reason I can see that is because if I look in the shadows, you’ll notice that on the JPEG side, the the same exact develop settings are not able to pull out all of the shadow definition over
here. So if I go press C and this drops me in to compare view, OK? And if I zoom into these different areas on the image, right. Let’s say the zoom in the rocks from here, you can start to see that the deep, dark, shadowy areas are actually getting clipped. And for some reason, it’s not able to really retain shadow information or even the highlight information as well. You kind of see different shifts in colour, tone and the highlights. You see that we’re not able to kind of preserve the highlights in the same way over here, the kind of start turning towards us. Certain gray on the right side. Right. This is that first limitation. So as soon as you shoot JPEG, you are limiting the dynamic range of your image. And what that means is you’re gonna have difficulty lifting shadows. You can have difficulty retaining highlights in your image if you intend to post-process the image. OK. So this is all based on that intention of I’m going to process this image. But something else has also happened. So we can clearly see there’s differences in the amount of dynamic range thats safe. Right. But you might say, well Pye, that initial shot, this this initial RAW file was kind of underexposed. Right. Well, no, this is going back to kind of the intention was, this is a high denegrange scene. We want to shoot this to keep all the range. But let’s just say, what if we brighten up the image in camera by two stops and then in post, we kind of tried to pull it back to something that was similar. Right. So what I’m doing post is just kind of dial the exposure back until it’s close to the same exposure here. So about one point three two and it’s roughly the same. But look at what happens here. So in this first example, we notice that it has a hard time trying to lift the shadows out right, right. Now in the second example of the brighter JPEG. If I compare these two now, we’re having a hard time on the JPEG side retaining the highlight detail in the brighter image. So all these brighter highlights, they’re just gonna go grey. Our shadows look a lot better, though. So on the brighter image, the shadows look much better. So this kind of goes to show you that a RAW file, when used properly and when exposed well, is just going to retain quite a bit more information. So you can do a better job of pulling back your highlights, and balancing out the image and lifting shadows. It gives you a lot more flexibility in that area in terms of the overall dynamic range and exposure. But. Another huge area that we often overlook is white balance. Why do we overlook this? Well, because if I actually bring up the develop module with any of the jpegs, it looks almost as if we have the same temperature intense sliders that we would over the RAW file. Right. So the RAW file has the same sliders. But there’s a big difference actually in the RAW file, you’ll notice that it actually shows the specific Kelvin and magenta values that were in camera, right, on the J PEG. It’s showing a 00 slider on both of these. What this is presenting me in this JPEG view is sort of a a filter that Adobe is using inside of Lightroom to kind of apply a warming and cooling function to the image as well as a temperature or tint function for the greens, and magentas. But it’s not the same thing as your in camera white balance. I want you to think of this as a filter, and the easiest way to see that is if I select this. RAW File OK, so we’re on the RAW file. If I going ahead and showing my filmstrip with all three of these selected and autosave turned on, if I had just the temperature to get to where I like this image, I’m going to take it up by about 1000. What happens in the accompanying JPEG files is an approximate boost in temperature, which makes the image look fantastically different from its RAW file. OK, So the way the temperature intent function on a JPEG are completely different. Whereas with a RAW file it’s literally just like going back to point of capture and adjusting the white balance in camera. So again, another huge benefit of shooting raw versus JPEG in terms of overall quality and flexibility in post. OK, so let me do this. I’m going to go ahead and go back to these JPEG images. So how would that change? So you’ll notice that over here, when we did that plus 1000, it basically added 30 and -3. I’m going to reset this out because what that a change would have kind of more looked like is maybe + 5 or + 10. OK. And maybe a little bit of a boost to magenta is and we’re gonna go + 10. So both these are now the same exact processing. OK. And that gets me far closer to what that original image was, was trying to get at versus the JPEG. That being said, if you notice the JPEG file over here, this, this JPEG that was shot underexposed. I mean, it’s not bad. If both these images were going up onto Instagram, you’d be kind of hard pressed to to see what the differences would be without like a side by side comparison of the RAW file. So it’s not as if it’s the end of the world, you know. I mean, so I’m hoping this kind of gets across the differences in overall quality, and how the images kind of vary in terms of post-production. Because the other things are gonna happen is whenever you shoot JPEG, you’re in camera picture style settings are gonna be applied to the image you’re gonna get in camera processing. So we have a kind of complete range of customizing that just based on whatever camera that you’re using. But you could be adding contrast, you can be adding sharpness, you can be doing all these different things when the JPEG comes in to Lightroom or to whatever application you’re using to process it comes in processed from the camera. This is why an in-camera JPEG is naturally going to look a little bit better than just a RAW file, because when you import the RAW file into Lightroom, well, unlike whatever you might have applied in the camera, none of that gets transferred into the raw pricing application unless you’re using like a brand specific raw processor. If you’re using Lightroom Capture 1, whatever… you’re in camera picture style stuff is when you’re shooting raw. That doesn’t get passed over when it comes in. All that happens is it keeps the underlying exposure and your temperature and tense settings. And that’s really it. The picture style. Everything else, it’s serving it the right information as it comes off the sensor. So picture style matters when you’re shooting JPEG in camera, pressing matters when you’re shooting JPEG, not so much when you’re shooting raw. None of that transfers over, but it does change the way that it’s going to show up on your LCD. So just keep that in mind. So what does this mean? This means that, well, if we’re gonna shoot JPEG, we to make sure that we dial in the exact exposure that we kind of intend to deliver the image, to view the image. We did dial it into the camera. We also need to dial the exact white balance into the camera when you’re shooting JPEG. It’s very important. You get things precise when you’re shooting RAW. We have a little more flexibility and you can shoot more for the intention and post leaving room and information there. And also, if you happen to mess up white balance, it’s OK. You can fix that in post, although ideally we want to get that right in camera as well. But we have more flexibility in information. This brings me to kind of the decision tree. Well, which one of these routes should I go? Should I shoot RAW or should I shoot JPEG? Let’s start with decision tree number one. Are you going to process the images? And really, when it comes to most professionals, you’re going to fall into this category because all professionals are generally gonna process their work. They also want the most information possible and a lot of serious amateur and hobbyist, they’re gonna do the same thing. They want to process each image. So bottom line is, if you want to process your images, shoot raw, it’s gonna give you the most flexibility, it’s gonna give you the best quality and the best potential flexibility in posting, get to, whatever that desired look is. It’s also sometimes fun is to go back to previous RAW files. You want a shot from several years back and reprocess them and see kind of how your style and things have evolved and have all the original information there for those images. So simple. You intend to process RAW? If not, you’re gonna shoot JPEG, Just make sure that you dial in your white balance, and set your exposure to what the final look is gonna be. So get it to where it needs to be in camera. Option number two. Let’s say that you need some of the images right now, but then you also want flexibility in post, because you want to post-process and get to the best images possible later. If that’s the case, I would say shoot RAW plus JPEG. Just keep in mind that it is going to slow the camera down a little bit since it’s writing two separate files. You’re gonna use it a little more memory, a little bit quicker. So have a look at larger cards and expect more memory to be used. But what this will give you is processed JPEGS that are done in camera, where if you need to send these off, or use these for Instagram or social media right away. They’re available to you. And then you’re also getting the RAW files that you can potentially process them later and have a different set of final images, let’s say, for portfolio or for printing purposes. So if you need flexibility now, and you also want the best possible file for later editing and usage, shoot RAW plus JPEG. If not, then again just go back to JPEG case study. And question number three is, is size and speed and ultimately the efficiency of your workflow. Priority number one, you might be wondering, well, who would that be the case for? Actually, there’s a lot of professional photographers that this really applies. And probably, though, the one use that I can think more than anything is in Associated Press functions. So, for example, I have quite a few professional sports photographer friends, who are shooting on the sidelines. And the ultimate goal is to get those images into AP, and into the library as quick as possible, so that they can go straight to print or whatever media they might be using. So they’re shooting JPEG. They are doing wireless transfers, their bare minimum, culling down the images at a laptop. And usually they have a dit station with someone working there, and they’re going to cull it quickly, maybe slap on a couple exposure adjustments or settings and just fire it off, export it and have it be done. Speed and efficiency is the ultimate priority. So shooting JPEG is the right choice in those situations. And what they’re doing is they’re dialing in their in camera picture style settings. Everything is just dialed in to the T, where really nothing needs to happen. The camera is doing the processing. They come straight out, they call it, and they just fire it off. So if that’s the case, then we obviously kind of want to skip a RAW workflow for that because it’s going to really hinder the speed and overall efficiency. Last but not least in our decision tree, is number 4 – Case Study or Are you shooting the family barbecue. And here’s what I mean. I mean, it might not be the family, but I like barbecues. But look, it could be any function that’s just, you don’t need to let go and process all these images and you don’t need to create all that workflow stress when it’s just fun images that you’re doing for friends, for family, for an event,
whatever it might be. And in those cases, I often just say, shoot, JPEG, why worry about processing all these images when I just dial it in camera, let your camera process it for you, and be done with it after you shoot it. Maybe you call and delete a few images and fire them off and be good. If you’re shooting the family barbecue, do you really need to shoot RAW files? No, I don’t need 60 MB RAW file’s to bring out all the dynamic range of the barbecue sauce on my children’s faces, and I would think that you guys might fit in that same boat. So, look, this video is really to show you guys that there’s a function and a use for raw and JPEG functionality. It’s not always best to shoot RAW. And there’s plenty of scenarios, especially professionally, when you don’t want to be shooting JPEG. But there are uses for each. And I hope this video kind of helps to dial that in for you guys. If you enjoyed, please like the video, subscribe to the channel. Let us know what you think below. You guys can follow me more at Pye Jirsa on Facebook or Instagram and well, I’ll be back here on Adorama TV next week. So in the meanwhile, if you guys want to check out more of our A to Z education. We have a massive library, getting you started from learning the fundamentals of photography all the way through to professional mastery on SLRloungeworkshops.com So be sure to check that out as well. We’ll link out every other thing that we use in the description below, and see you guys next time…Peace.